IPL opens with ‘biggest game’, but OTT viewers are not enthused

Experts suggest it happened because a majority of on-the-go audience is at home and watching a match on TV is better than watching it on the cellphone

The opener between MI and RCB (first half of IPL-14) on April 9 recorded a peak viewership of 6.7 million. On Sunday (September 19), the viewership during the match between MI and CSK reached a maximum of 5.3 million. Pic: Twitter

A majority of die-hard Indian Premier League (IPL) fans have preferred to watch the second half of the cricketing extravaganza on TV instead of OTT platform Disney+Hotstar, reports moneycontrol.com.

The second leg of the 14th edition of IPL began in the UAE on Sunday with a power-charged match between Mumbai Indians (MI) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) – two of the strongest teams of the tournament. However, the viewership on Disney+Hotstar was much less than it was in the first half of the tournament played in April, suspended mid-way due to COVID scare.

The opener between MI and RCB on April 9 recorded a peak viewership of 6.7 million. On Sunday (September 19), the viewership during the match between MI and CSK reached a maximum of 5.3 million.

Also read: IPL 2021: Gaikwad leads CSK to 20-run win over Mumbai Indians

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It would be too early to say that OTT viewership is on the decline. The Sunday’s match (MI versus CSK) started with 1.5 million viewers on Disney+Hotstar which jumped to 3.2 million after the third ball. By the time the second over began, 4.4 million people were watching the game, moneycontrol.com reported.

Ruturaj Gaikwad and Dwayne Bravos’ big hits took the Disney+Hotstar viewership to 5.3 million at best, after that it hovered around 4.5 million till the end of the match.

Experts suggest the popularity of OTT has dipped because a majority of its audience is working from home and they prefer to watch matches on the big screen of a TV than small user interface of the cellphone. In fact, they say, OTT was always meant for the on-the-go audience and not for those sitting in the comfort of their houses.

Meanwhile, Disney+Hotstar is gaining in popularity. The OTT platform added around 7.5 million subscribers recently and it would see a similar number of paid user additions during IPL 14, moneycontrol.com reported.

Disney+Hotstar is likely to hit the 46 million subscriber base by the end of this year – up from the current 35.1 million subscribers.

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